17 December 2009
By Colin Hambrook
Following the success of last year’s Wild Things CD, Brighton punk band Heavy Load launched Wild Things: Sounds of the Disabled Underground Vol 2 on their Get in or Get Out label on 10 December 2009 at Komedia, Brighton.
Volume 2 is a double CD and features artists from all over the world. All proceeds go towards furthering the work of the Stay Up Late campaign
One of my big highlights of 2009 has been seeing Heavy Load go stellar. They've won two big awards; a Broadcast Now Diversity Award for the film 'Heavy Load' (presented to Met Films) and the DaDa Community Arts Award, another one for just being who they are.
I love Heavy Load. They know how to have a good time and give everyone else a good time. Their gigs are full of drums speeding up and slowing down. As Mick says in the documentary, "no-one ever complained about the Genesis drummer changing the speed of his drum beat."
Back in the late 1970s - for a very short time - punk meant freedom. It was one finger up to the establishment; a herald for the human spirit, but its influence has captured the imagination of a new generation of learning disabled musicians. Wild Things is a great double CD - 37 bands from all over the world who've caught the Get in or Get out bug.
The music ranges from the tight blues of the irrepressible JC-Jammer with his Dump Truck Baby, to the maddening Mulberry Leemore Music Groups 'Telescopic Handler.' They've had me humming the refrain "Ed really likes the gear box"...for weeks now. Kylie Minogue eat your heart out!
Other highlights included Metallic Latin, a great piece of stepladder and drinks can experimental music from Anya Ustaszewski. Anya was featured at the Arts Council's DEcibel Performing Arts Showcase in Manchester in September 2009.
I also liked The Residentz' old time music hall-like ditty, "They're coming to take the piano away tomorrow"; and an electronica impro band from Finland called Sound Park.
The track that totally blew me away was Stephen Hurren's heartfelt "I hope we'd make good friends again." I remember Stephen from Shape's Vinyl Dreams music project more than six years ago, a man who could play guitar in any tune or style that you could care to name.
The Wild Things launch was outrageously fun - the kind of event where people of every shape and difference come together and anything goes. Nothing matters but sharing the experience of being alive in the moment.
The 1st Chancers - a HAFAD (Hammersmith and Fulham Action on Disability) original - wowed us with their song about having their van trashed. They've been going since the early 1990s - and their experience and professionalism really showed. Eugenie's voice is so distinctive.
As you might guess from their name - Zombie Crash were just crazy. The lead singer just couldn't stop himself from having ongoing friendly verbal abuse with an audience member. They were truly wild!
Punk was always about having fun; letting your hair down, saying what you mean, rather than meaning what you say. Heavy Load capture that. When they sing "Simon Cowell shut your mouth" they are telling it like it is.
Heavy Load wouldn't make it on X-Factor - but they wouldn't demean themselves as factory fodder. Music isn't about five minutes of fame; poking people in the ribs because maybe they are not as 'good' as someone else. How can you quantify self-expression and having a laugh?
Heavy Load keep on making the noise that they've become known for - and the enjoyment is infectious. I thoroughly recommend Wild Things 2 as a stocking filler. Long may their star be on the rise.